Sunday, July 22, 2007

Alpha Moms creep me out.

I lived next door to a mom, once, who had a couple little boys and a house that was always way too clean.
She was impeccably pulled together, a fabulous cook, and enviably well-organized. She was incredibly ambitious, and the consummate "Type-A" breed of mother.

I think in the two years I knew her, I could count the number of times I saw her kids smile, on one hand.

Perhaps some moms actually enjoy that kind of lifestyle. Maybe it really is what works best for them. Kudos to those moms. I couldn't possibly stomach it or achieve the requisite standards.

I like to cook for company. I prefer my house to look as though it's not an industrial crap factory. I take care of myself physically, and I try to set high standards for my kids. I refuse, however, to freak out because Noel flunked his swimming class last week, or Sophie peed in her princess trash can.

Last week we arrived at the grocery store, and I realized Jack had spaghetti sauce mashed into the back of his hair. I figured as long as it wasn't dripping off him, we were pretty much good.

Once, I went out in public and realized I had two different (completely unmatching) shoes on.
I didn't go home and change them. I just walked around that way. For a long time.

I took Noel to the supermarket and let him wear a full-body spiderman suit and mask. I only took issue with him when he tried to "web" other customers.

Sophie went through a phase in which she drew male genitalia on all of her pictures of people.
I have a very sweet picture somewhere, portraying me with a tremendously disproportionate "unit". It was scribbled with love, so I'll cherish it.

I don't want to know what is under Noel's bed, but it's stuffed so full that items are starting to peek out the sides. Most likely, I will insist that he at least clean up the junk around the periphery of the base. I think if there's no odor emanating from the pile of junk under there, it's probably best that I don't even look any further.

Being a mother is a "job," for certain, but it's much more than that. I can't imagine injecting our lives with the pseudo- corporate mindset that seems characteristic of the "Alpha Mom" role. I enjoy having a measure of spontaneity in our days, and being able to brush off the little aggravations, recognizing that they just don't really matter. It might be the antithesis of the Type-A motto, but I won't strive for perfection; I think it's a whole lot wiser to choose my battles.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mother Nature really effed up the evolutionary process.

We began as amoebas. Or ectoplasm. Or something very small and slimy.
We progressed to our present state, complete with the capacity for higher-level thought processes, profound human empathy, and an innate penchant for cute, strappy sandals.

Why then, after the unfathomable metamorphosis and stunning developmental leaps of the human species, are my children incapable of holding the contents of their bladder, the minute we enter a mall?

Because Mother Nature hosed it ALL UP.

My foremost issues with her "evolutionary accomplishments" are as follows:

*Children have ten times more energy than their parents. I believe the wisdom is that their shorter legs should allow us the ability to speedily intervene when they run in the wrong direction. By late afternoon, I am demonstrating the property of inertia. If my kids REALLY want to chase the rabbit in the yard that has foam seeping out of its mouth, there's about a 40/60 chance I'm going to do more than yell, "stop chasing the rabbit with foam seeping out of it's mouth!"

*There would have been nothing wrong with giving us webbed feet. Flip-flop sandals would be moot, but I think that would've been a fair trade-off.

*We should have had marsupial pouches. If we did, I would not have to carry my monster purse everywhere I go AND my post-baby belly would be sleekly camouflaged. Seems like a no-brainer. I guess not.

*Babies should be born with the ability to hold their own heads up. It's just creepy that they can't. There's something wrong with the design of a creature who could DIE if you absent-mindedly pull your hand away from their neck, in order to scratch your nose. Well, maybe not die, but flip their head back in an extremely off-putting manner, anyway.

*We should be voluntarily able to redistribute our own body fat. I don't know many women who have not expressed this desire. I'm sure that I'm not the only person who would like to try out having a third boob.

*Hormones and other biochemical components in our bodies should be readily controlled by pressing designated freckles or moles. This would allow us to restrain our own behavior and emotions, and lend a useful purpose to otherwise annoying and difficult-to-conceal skin aberrations.

*Individuals beset by the plague of Christian fundamentalism should smell differently than the rest of our species. It would make life infinitely more amusing if we knew who to make pseudo-homosexual advances toward, at the gas station.

As a request, I'd ask Mother Nature to toss us a bone. Allow us some small evolutionary convenience. I don't think it's asking too much for her to evolve our taste buds so that Splenda doesn't taste like crap. If she's feeling generous, maybe she could give us retractable lobster claws. I could use them to scrape the gum off my family room carpet.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Keyboard Confessional: My Maternal Shame

I was once, for a period of time, addicted to playing Sonic the Hedgehog. We bought the game for Noel, but I was playing it, y'know, to bond with him, and was utterly sucked in by its escapist wiles. This also happened with "Spongebob Squarepants, Battle for Bikini Bottom." On one occasion, I made Noel go to bed so that I could jump in and win the golden spatula before he beat me to it.

Tonight, Jack dropped a bagel on the bathroom floor. I'm not really certain when I washed the floor last, but I let him eat the bagel, anyway.

When Noel was little, I let him watch the X-files on a semi-regular basis.

I used up the majority of the ink in Sophie's markers, coloring a five-foot tall tagboard Tower of London, featuring a morose-faced Peter Wentworth at the top (long story.) Then I threw them away, forgot to buy her new ones, and when pressed for the location of her markers, claimed that one of the other kids must have lost them.

I let Sophie eat an entire bag of prunes in one 24-hour period.

I (accidentally) taught Jack the sign for "poop" in place of the sign for "hurt."

I killed the kids' tadpoles. One had just sprouted legs. I changed their water without letting it warm up to room temperature, and within two hours they were dead. That was a couple days ago. The kids haven't noticed, yet...

Whew! My soul feels unburdened! Catch ya' later. Noel has half a kit-kat left on his dresser. It sure would be a shame if some kind of animal crawled in his window and ate it while he was sleeping...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disney movies: you think Kubrik made some warped films?

Sophie loves Disney princess movies. She watches alot of them. That means that I, at a minimum, overhear alot of them. Overwhelmingly, the characters involved are a bit... dysfunctional.

Cinderella: Allows abusive stepmother and stepsiblings to walk all over her. Gets a makeover and flits off into marriage with a wealthy, studly dude, having fallen in love after dancing with him. once.

What REALLY happens after the glistening pumpkin carriage rolls away with the happy couple? After a brief period of honeymoon bliss, Prince Charming starts spending his free time fox hunting, imbibing excessively from the royal chalice, and investing an inordinate amount of time "helping" the maidstaff "learn to dust properly."

Snow White: Again, allows abusive parent-figure to mistreat her. Runs into the woods after discerning that her stepmom wants to CARVE OUT HER HEART, and takes up residence with seven men. REPEATEDLY falls for stepmother's poorly disguised attempts to KILL her. Marries the first dude who will suck her (presumably dead) face.

Soooo... she hooked up with a guy who's into necrophilia. Not a good start. I'd suggest she keep a close eye on any animal cadavers left unattended in the castle kitchen.

The Little Mermaid: Undergoes the magical equivalent of cosmetic surgery, sacrificing her ability to SPEAK in the process, so she can get in with some dude she's never even MET while he's conscious.

Her husband digs chicks who can't speak or communicate. Perhaps he's listened to a bit too much Dr. Laura. It doesn't bode well. I see wife-beater tees and naked, filthy children running amok, in her future.

I'm not even going to touch the whole "dead mother" phenomenon in Disney movies. I've heard Walt himself wasn't exactly keen on women, which might explain a bit.

Disney: the animated legacy that Bibbity-bobbity-blows.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Euthanizing Mrs. Butterworth.

Jack won't eat anything except toaster waffles.

He has speech delays and can't verbally ask me, so when he wants one, he brings me the bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup. He's hoisted that smug plastic hussy into my lap no less than five times, today. What's even worse is that I have to pack him a lunch for preschool, starting tomorrow.

How do I pack a frozen waffle and syrup in a brown paper bag? What will his teachers think if I attempt to make a waffle-and-syrup sandwich? How will they grapple with the apocalyptic hellfire that will rain down if his lunch bag is opened, revealing some abhorrence like a peanut butter sandwich?

On one occasion, I hid Jack's fructose-bellied mistress, in the hopes that he would forget about her and stop demanding waffles constantly. He was so bereaved by her absence that he became borderline manic, and started bringing me random items like hot sauce and selzer from the fridge, seemingly hoping that any bottle vaguely resembling the feminine form would contain syrup.

She might look unassuming and harmless, but Mrs. Butterworth hides a seedy, treacherous secret beneath that plumed plastic skirt. She's as addictive as heroin, with face-sticking properties comparable to cyanoacrylate. She's also non-recyclable in many areas. I think she's trying to populate the world with Mrs. Butterworth bottles. I don't know about you, but that's not the kind of world I want to live in. I think I'm gonna burn Butterworth.

What goes on in those little melons?

Children are full of an amazing amount of knowledge and wisdom about the world. Sophie informed me this afternoon that ramen noodles are made from cows. Noel once suggested that God might be an elf (which in my opinion is every bit as likely as him being some omnipotent, all-seeing entity.) I believe Jack said that I am a "cracker," yesterday. On one occasion, I discerned that Noel believed that firemen went to people's houses to START fires.

I think children must be the bravest people on Earth. Faced with such ideas as people being employed in the business of burning down houses, and, as Sophie once believed, the potential for having a limb sucked down the bathtub drain, they must perceive danger at every turn.

Dealing with the everyday stresses of childcare, mortgage payments, and proper role-modeling seems to pale in comparison to living with the belief that if you touch a caterpillar and rub your eyes, you will instantly go blind.

Sophie has been concerned about her blood sugar being low. She also occasionally decries intermittent back pain when asked to clean her room. Some weeks ago, she had a headache and sadly informed me that it was due to cancer.

The "real world" might be a scary place, but the one in which a child's mind exists seems every bit as intimidating. Still, kids get to climb around in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese's without getting weird looks. I think it's a trade-off.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Why mama needs a martini.

Somewhere between intervening in my nine and five-year-olds' attempts to taste my garden mulch, and my four-year-old's fervent desire to consume copious quantities of bathroom tissue, I decided to start a blog.


Because I find myself possessed of a need to expound upon the plethora of inane, confounding, frustrating, often amusing tidbits of my daily experience as a woman and a mother.

Also, my friends and family are getting sick of talking to me.

If nothing else, perhaps this blog will provide me a salient bit of evidence which I might wield as blackmail over my children's heads, as they enter their teenage years.

Note to future self: today Noel plugged the upstairs toilet and lied about it. He also spent more time grooming his hair than I did mine. And that's a pretty profound feat.